This story points to two realities. One the situation in the Balkans has never fully been resolved. The tensions still exist and with Brussels' hand growing weak, NATO is attempting to step in and fill the gap. The NATO diplomatic intervention indicates something of a brewing crisis. With the exception of Slovenia and Croatia, the countries of Former Yugoslavia have not joined the EU and so it represents this pocket within Europe wherein Brussels cannot wield full control and has limited influence.
They pay attention to Brussels because there's been the move toward the EU, that is until recent years. Many of the Western-connected technocrats are still pushing for EU membership but many nationalists (especially within Serbia) are against it. Kosovo it must be said aspires to EU membership for two reasons... security and the possibility of an open border. The latter will create a situation in which Kosovars can go abroad and send home remittances.
To use a cliché the situation is becoming the proverbial power-keg and like a century ago the international and geopolitical ramifications also represent a danger to the world order.
In the 1990s when the United States through NATO smashed all opposition within the region and sought to fully incorporate it within the Western European dominated spectrum, Russia was broken and could not intervene.
Today the situation is different. Russia sees itself very much in its historic role as the defender of the smaller Slavic and Orthodox nations. In the 19th and early 20th centuries the threat came from the Ottomans and the Habsburgs. Today it's Washington and Brussels. The tensions in Eastern Europe and certainly the intrigues of both sides have created a dangerous situation. The Serbs in particular are villainised within the West but to be fair from their perspective they have lost the most.
The grievances are not limited to the conflicts of the 1990s. These issues between the various nations of the Balkans extend back to World War II and even into the Middle Ages. This is an irredentist culture-clash, a story of vengeance and bottled up frustration that has quite literally percolated for centuries.
Once again to understand this region in terms of the categories of Classical Liberalism and its values is to completely miss the context. This region had no Renaissance and no Enlightenment. Its break from Ottoman and Habsburg domination was born of nationalism to be sure but under a republican veneer at best. The Balkans are still dominated by raw tribalism and the potential for Great Power proxy war is tremendous. The Balkans Wars of the 1990s would have taken on a very different hue if the Serbs had been backed by a powerful benefactor flooding them with logistical support and weapons.
There are small but vibrant Christian communities throughout the region living within Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim contexts. They stand to suffer if conflict breaks out and they need to be remembered. I pray they are not succumbing to the temptation to join in with Western machinations. They will bring ruin to their society and decimate their testimony. I'm afraid this sort of thing has already occurred in the Ukraine and elsewhere.